Family and friends are mourning Manbir “Mani” Amar, who died after a dispute with a Newton-area neighbour on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 31).
“Mani was a devoted father, brother, son and friend — a talented individual who devoted his life to activism and the arts,” his brother, Gurbinder Amar, said in a statement released by Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) on Friday (Sept. 2).
“Through poetry, prose, philosophy, painting, photography and filmmaking, Mani touched the lives of many individuals. He will be deeply missed.”
IHIT says Amar, 40, was killed during a physical confrontation between two men in the 14100-block of 61 Avenue, a block west of École Woodward Hill, just before 2 p.m. Aug. 31.
A man was arrested on scene. “At this time, no charges have been laid and the man has been released from custody as the investigation continues,” the investigation team said Friday.
BREAKING: Surrey filmmaker/activist Mani Amar is the man killed in Newton yesterday, in a neighbourhood dispute. He won awards for his work, and once sought an actress to play Surrey murder victim Maple Batalia in a film he wanted to make.
STORY: https://t.co/ZB9Bc4ATnl pic.twitter.com/qeuLBezWRo
— Tom Zillich (@TomZillich) September 1, 2022
On social media, Amar’s friends and work colleagues reacted to his death with sadness.
“Mani was instrumental in working with vulnerable youth to steer them away from gang life,” tweeted Karen Reid Sidhu, executive director of Surrey Crime Prevention Society. “I consulted with him many times relating to our mentorship program. What a tremendous loss!”
Amar once shot a documentary about South Asian gangsters and followed it up with a fictional film about the same subject. The former Port Alberni resident won awards for his work, which included another documentary about drug-addicted people who live on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Five years ago, in 2017, Amar sought to find an actress to play the role of Surrey murder victim Maple Batalia in his next film, a dramatization of the final hours of her life, but it’s not clear if the movie was ever made.
On the Now-Leader’s Facebook post, dozens of people commented about Amar and his work in the community.
“Mani was a genuinely kind, generous, and giving soul,” posted Jim Minhas. “He was a full time dedicated father to his three young children and helped care for his mother whom lived with them. This is devastating news. He worked and volunteered to help the less fortunate and those who needed it. Will miss you brother…RIP.”
Added Raj Bassi: “Really saddened at news about his death. This guy tried his best to keep kids out of gangs and trouble and actually cared about the community. RIP and condolences to his family and friends.”
Another reader, Julie Hamilton, said Amar will be missed by many. “Mani was a kind, gentle, wonderful person. So shocking that a argument between neighbours could lead to this. Cannot believe.”
IHIT won’t say if a weapon was used in the incident that led to Amar’s death, but Pierotti said no firearm was involved. “Tragically this situation escalated to a point where a life was taken,” he said Thursday.
Investigtors ask any witnesses to contact the IHIT Information Line at 1-877-551-IHIT (4448) or by email at email@example.com.